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Bob Deans Education. (2012) 'Reckless The Political Assault on the American Environment.'

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Us 16, Nrdc 6, Washington 6, Bob Deans 5, Kenya 4, Heather 3, George W. Bush 3, Emily Dickinson 3, America 3, West Virginia 3, Roberta Schaffer 2, Obama 2, Paula 2, Virginia 2, Richard Nixon 2, Us As A Nation 2, Nairobi 2, U.s. 2, Mexico 2, Stanley 2,
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  CSPAN    Book TV    Bob Deans  Education.  (2012) 'Reckless The  
   Political Assault on the American Environment.'  

    July 28, 2012
    9:15 - 9:59am EDT  

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emily dickinson's book of poetry. >> emily dickinson is a must have american public but the particular book we have is an art book done by a cooperative in key west. they had reproduced the book of poetry and also made a facsimile of her house in amherst and a little tree and it is made of recycled material. emily dickinson is a phenomenal poland but we didn't know about her or discover her until the mid-1950ss when we finally were able to see her poems -- read her poems and love her poems in the way she had written them. >> who was doing the editing? >> professional editors. they like to take their hand and make you conform. for emily that was -- >> roberta schaffer, associate librarian of the library of
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congress. books that shaped america is the name of the exhibit. library of congress and independence avenue in washington across from the nation's capital. >> now you have seen the exhibit books that shaped america. if you would like to talk to roberta schaffer about these books and give your input what books you think should be included e-mail us at booktv.org. >> we have to be clear about the very many ways we own ourselves and make decisions that history is phenomenal or vital or special. >> former president of bennett college rights and comments on politics and economic history. next sunday your questions, call, e-mails and tweets for surviving and thriving, 365 fax.
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in depth live at noon eastern on c-span2's booktv. you are watching booktv. 48 hours of nonfiction authors and books every weekend on c-span2. up next, bob deans argues the republican party which in the past has supported the barn and the protection is largely beholden to corporate polluters and tea party activists. his book is "reckless: the political assault on the american environment" 11 and he speaks at the national press club in washington for half an hour. >> good evening. with thank you very much for joining the action fund this evening. my name is melissa harris and i am communications director. this will include remarks from the action fund director and "reckless" author bob deans. following bob's remarks we will
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open up for an interactive q&a. start thinking which questions you would like to ask bob before this evening. bob will also be available to sign any purchase copies of "reckless" and he will be doing so at the table so feel free to line up. i have the pleasure of introducing the director heather taylor-miesle. as director she got nrdc's strategies to build environmental majority, focus on clean energy and promoting environmental safeguards. heather has 13 years' experience in federal politics as public interest, lobbyist and on capitol hill. prior to taking on a roll of director for the nrdc action fun she had her own consulting business and was that the legislative director at the natural resources defense council. prior to your position that nrdc she worked on capitol hill first as an aide to congressman and former ohio governor ted strickland and worked as senior staff member for current labor
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secretary. during her time on capitol hill had their health co-founded democratic caucus environmental message team which continues to help democratic members communicate more effectively with their constituents about environment and energy issues. heather is married with 32 beautiful children and presides in silicon valley in california. a [applause] >> good evening. thank you for joining us to celebrate nrdc action fund's first book release of "reckless: the political assault on the american environment" written by staffer bob deans. please join me in giving him a round of applause. [applause] >> bob is always a joy to work with so is good to recognize that kind of dedication and general stability in this
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business. so often we have snow many fights that it is nice to be dealing with the gentleman. also even better to be dealing with an informed gentleman. i came to the environment on a gymnasium floor. i grew up in actionland, kentucky where it the oil refinery is station. you see our school literally a playground on level with the top of the refinery smokestacks. my first memory of caring about the environment was sitting on a green gymnasium floor listening to parents argue about why exactly their kids were getting sick, why word there cancer clusters. i remember my mom saying this is about the environment but this is about my kid. that was -- what is interesting about the environment is when it comes down to which it is always about our kids. the people who gathered in that
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gymnasium on the big green for had nothing to do with the democrats or republicans. they were parents. the environmental issues bob talks about in his book are not ones that have to do with partisanship at all but the conversations we hold in gymnasiums. conversations we hold at our kitchen tables. the majority of folks who want to protect the environment are trying to protect their children. the nrdc action fund is all about rebuilding the environmental majority. has very little to do with democrats or republicans. i honestly can't think of a better time to release this book as we are a few days from celebrating earth day 2012. "reckless" is a strongeminder that by working together we are able to come along way to protecting the environment. we must come together again to
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stop any and all attempts by congress to move environmental and health standards backwards and this come only be done through cooperation with members on both sides of the aisle. members who are really ready to gather around the kitchen table. tonight is a special honor for me as we launch "reckless" but also as we honor its author, my colleague bob deans. bob joined the nrdc action fund after three days as a reporter as chief asian correspondent for the atlantic journal constitution. as former president of white house correspondent association bob deans is the author of the 2007 book the river where america began:a journey along the james. and co-author of the 2009 book clean energy common sense:an american call to action on
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global climate change and 2010 book in deep water:the anatomy of disaster, the fate of the gulf and ending the addiction. in virginia, in bethesda, maryland with his wife and three children. join me in would giving a warm welcome to bob deans. [applause] >> thank you for coming out here tonight. special welcome to the folks from c-span tv. thank you for being with us tonight. i want to recognize my publisher john fiske. this is our third book together. not everyone involved is still speaking to each other but you and i. fortunately are. john has the perfect set of sensibilities for book publisher. serve the mind of an ancient philosopher and the heart of a
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riverboat gambler. that is what we like about john and he has the greatest production editor in the world, darcy evans and manages to be tenacious and meticulous and mercifully full giving -- for giving. i want to say a special thank you to some people who worked very hard the past few weeks to make this a great night. my colleagues, add chin and lisa and melissa harrison, thank you all very hard for your hard work. i appreciate that. [applause] i sent you greetings tonight from the nrdc president who wishes she could be with us tonight but could not be here. also want to say thank-you to our executive director for his support and of course to the heart and soul of the nrdc family are founder, john adams and a quick thank you to robert
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redford for riding the magnificent forward to this book and former congressman cheri bullard for writing our practice. i am grateful for that. washington no rider to will alone. this book is based on the efforts of everyone in the nrdc action fund. in some ways it reflects the work of you all. those of you who stood up for nature some of you for years and some of you for decades telling the truth about the threats to our environment. those of you who have labored to find policies aleutians we need to take us forward. those of you who use our laws and courts to hold polluters accountable to the public we all serve. telling the truth about the threats, developing policy solutions that guide as forward and holding polluters accountable is what environmental leadership means and that is what the nrdc family is all about. i could name one staffer after
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another in these difficult times one person whose work represents the best of all we do. work that inspired me throughout the creation of this book. i want to savor that a special thanks to our senior attorney and clean air director john walker. [applause] these are challenging times for our country. times of great opportunity yes, the times of many obstacles as well. over the past year we have struggled with historic debt and the enduring fallout from the worst recession since world war ii. u.s. troops are fighting their 11 grinding year in afghanistan and u.s. forces just returned after eight years of war in iraq. many of our closest european allies are facing economic ruin.
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the middle east has been remade by democratic revolutions that stretched to the gates of the kremlin. income inequality worldwide has turned occupy wall street movement into a global movement. amid turmoil, challenge, opportunity and change which of these pressing issues commanded the attention of the united states house of representatives? putting our fiscal house in order, they feeding our battlefield foes, shoring up our trans-atlantic partners and friends, addressing the yawning gap between rich and poor. what single action might we name tonight that the house has taken since early last year that might help us to embrace the opportunity or ride the challenge at home or abroad. what might they have done to help us as a nation to manage
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these times? nothing quickly comes to mind. perhaps that is one reason public job approval of our congress has plunged to a historic low. just 10% of the american people give our congress a thumbs-up. 535 votes in congress with a 10% job approval rating down to family members. this really isn't funny. instead of addressing exceptional challenge in extraordinary times our house has chosen instead to wage a single worst legislative assault in history on the foundational safeguards we all depend on to protect our environment. sins republicans gained the house majority after the elections of 2010 that body has voted more than 200 times to undermine existing protections
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or to weaken, delay or block needed measures to deal with emerging threats. the vote have targeted foundational protections like the clean water act, the clean air act, legislation put in place over decades by republicans and democrats working together. they have gone after public investments in energy e efficiency and renewable power technologies that can lead us forward including support for programs that were set up by president george w. bush. they have undermined the environmental protection agency, established by richard nixon, and its authority to hold polluters to account and they have threatened iconic places from the great lakes to the gulf of mexico, the appalachian mountains to the chesapeake bay turning away from the national wildlife preservation legacy this country has pursued for more than a century sins the presidency of theodore
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roosevelt. that is why we call this a political assault on the american environment. it is reckless, it is radical, it is relentless, it is wrong and it is time we stood up to turn this around. [applause] this assault is not about jobs as its proponents claim. it is about putting polluter profits first and putting the rest of us at risk. from the air we breathed the water we drink from the mountains to the sea. government regulations of all kinds account for far less than 1% of all major layoffs in the economy. we have economic data from the bureau of labor statistics that proves that. decades of data make clear that our economy has been strengthened by efforts to keep
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our environment clean, to keep our workers healthy. two million americans go to work each day cleaning up the air we breathe, the water we drink, the land and wildlife we use and enjoy. the american people didn't ask for this rampage but somebody else did. the corporate polluters who spend hundreds of millions of dollars every year lobbying here in washington and pumping up the campaign coffers of any politician who will carry a smokestack agenda up on capitol hill. these corporate polluters have the right to be heard. the rest of us have an obligation to speak up for ourselves about what is good for the rest of the country. eight in ten americans for environmental regulations strengthened or left alone according to a few research poll released in february. we need to stand up and say so.
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republicans and democrats always had a spirited conversation about how best to protect our environment and health. never before has a single party embarked to this degree to leave this rate our environmental safety net. this is a sharp departure from the republican party's history of environmental stewardship stretching back more than a century. it was teddy roosevelt after all who established our first national wildlife preserve in florida. laying the groundwork for what has become six thirty-five million acres of public places set aside. was dwight eisenhower who created the arctic national wildlife preserve. it was richard nixon who created the environmental protection agency. ronald reagan went after led and gasoline. george h. w. bush went after acid rain. these were republican presidents
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everyone. i dare say they would not recognize some of the members of their own party in the house today and they certainly wouldn't vote alongside them. the worst of this dark vision has not yet come to pass only because the senate has either voted down or refused to act on the worst impulses of the house but let's be clear. votes counted. they are how we know what really matters to the people we elected. they are how we hold our officials accountable to the public. after all the rhetoric and political cheap shots have died down, votes are all we have got. in this case more than 200 of them. forty-two years ago when we pause as a nation to mark the first earth day our environment faced grave and gathering threats. we had seen oil washing ashore in santa barbara.
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los angeles was the smog capital of the world. the waterways of our heartland where so desecrated and polluted that the cairo the river literally caught fire -- --cu --cuyahoga river caught fire. some would say our job is done. it isn't. not with a copper mine in alaska is threatening one of the greatest seminaries of the world. we have more work to do. not win a renegade oil well can put at risk the fertile waters of the gulf of mexico. we have got more work to do. not when communities across this country are terrified of hydraulic fracturing. not when thousands of children suffer from asthma exacerbated by air pollution and the ravages of climate change reach deeper into our lives every day. we have got more work to do.
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no single pay can do this alone. safeguarding our environment is bi-partisan work. now is not the time to turn our backs on four decades of environmental progress put in place by leaders of courage and vision from both parties. it is time instead to honor our debt to our forebears', make good our promise to our children and rebuild bipartisan majority for our environment. the stakes are too high for anything less. that is why we have written this little book. i appreciate your time tonight. thank you. [applause] this >> thank you so much. we won't let you get too far away. we are going to open up for some
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q&a and we have sins and with a microphone. we need you to go to the microphone or she will come to use so we can make sure we can hear you. do we have anybody brave enough to ask the first question? that is what i was afraid of. how about i kick it off and someone promises to ask the second question. how does that work? i think the one question you always get is why did you decide to write this book? what was the thinking behind it and how did you get it done so quickly when all the data you use is from 2011 and we are only in april of 2012? >> the reason i wrote it is i was inspired. my co-workers across the nrdc family. privileged to work every day with the best in the business when it comes for standing up for nature and the environment. as i watch month after month of
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people working in our waters program and the air program and the climate program and the lands program and toxic program and ocean program and i saw people going head head day in and day out against this reckless assaults and i kept waiting for the big article to come out in the traditional media waiting out and explain to the american people what was going on and what was behind this and reminding us in wasn't the american people who were asking for this but corporate polluters who were demanding it and getting what they were asking for. it finally dawned on me that the ammunition of the traditional news media left us in a place in this country where these stories are getting harder and harder for people to tell and this was the opportunity for us to tell it and i travel around the country and grew up in a very conservative area. i come from a conservative family.
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i can think of a single american anywhere who would not be outraged to learn what is going on. i can't think of a single american who understand what is going on and on a thought if we put in a book that someone could be in two hours, would help us figure out where we need to go from here. grateful for the question. >> questions from the audience? >> two questions about the politics of this. what role would use a the tea party has in pushing the agenda in the direction you're talking about and what is the role of the religious right in protecting the environment? sometimes you hear religious people should be stewards of god's creation and other times people say god created natural resources for us to use. >> thanks for the question. don't think there is any
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question that the mainstream christian community has embraced the former notion that you put out which is we are called by scripture to be stewards of god's creation and to the stewards of this earth and to take care of the earth and not to exploit and ravage and destroy. more and more i think mainstream christians with the we are talking about christian republicans are christian democrats are embracing that view and speaking out in that direction and it is all to the good. the tea party has played a fascinating role at the crux of the shift for the republican party. the tea party tends to be a little bit more trusting of corporations than they are of government. they don't trust government. they want government to be smaller. there are a lot of well-meaning and well-intentioned and good hearted patriotic americans who see this and see the tea party as their way in. what has happened is corporate polluters and we are talking big
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oil and gas companies and incinerator operators and refineries and chemical companies and we go into this in the book. they have bankrolled the tea party to the tune of scores of millions of dollars paying for buses for rallies or venues for town hall meetings and other materials and they have enabled the tea party to galvanize as a national movement and hijacked the tea party agenda because when a tea party member in ohio or pennsylvania or michigan stands up and says we want smaller government they mean something different than what a petrochemical operator says when he says we want smaller government too. what has happened is the tea party movement has been largely hijacked by corporate polluters to give a populist veneer to a smokestack agenda that i don't think most tea party years actually embrace. when translated in this city into a situation in which you have hundreds of lobbyists
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funded by hundreds of millions of dollars every year going up and patting backs and twisting arms on capitol hill and going to bat for shareholders of corporate polluters for the sake of greater profits. we need to stand up and say we respect your right to speak out on behalf of the shareholders the rest of us have an opportunity to speak on behalf of what is good for the future of our country and that is what we're trying to do. >> another question over here. >> could you talk a little bit about not coming but we are in it. the presidential campaign. some of us looking back would be surprised to see how much of so many really core issues to have a center role in this campaign and how do you see that playing out? >> great question. i see it playing out in a big
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way. some lines of demarcation have already been drawn. president obama has made clear that he believes in climate change and believes it is a threat to us all and is largely caused by man-made activities and we ought to be doing something about them. governor romney believed that at one time and i suspect still does but he is going to be asked on the campaign trail is it's still a problem and if not how did we fix it? we go in the book into the fact that there was a vote on the house last year and the question was put to the house of representatives do you agree with the epa's finding that climate change is real and threatening as am largely caused by man-made activity? only one republican voted in the affirmative that. mitt romney has his work cut out for him. more specifically we need to remember two famous. a presidential election is not really about the candidate. it is about us as a nation and
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who we are and not so much a national eduction as a statewide group of elections. there are three key issues that are going to impact on a state-by-state level. the first is protection of our communities. we are now discovering a huge amount of natural gas and oil and shale and through new technology fostered by 30 years of public investment in the department of energy and research we are drilling thousands of wells nationwide into shale and terrified communities across this country because the pace of the drilling has outstripped our ability to provide responsible public oversight for it. the oversight has not kept pace with the drilling. we need to come up with a way to protect our air and water and keep our eye on the prize which
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is an energy future that is diversified and not solely resting on old line fossil fuels that are dangerous and destructive and adding carbon to the planet and changing our climate. we need to be about continuing to invest in energy efficiency and save for sustainable renewable sources of power and fuel, wind, solar and others. we will see the candidates ask those questions and it will be interesting to see the approach they take and vital for the country that we take the right turns and whoever is elected president make the right decisions that are in the best interest of the long-term future of our country. >> hi, bob. i am looking forward to reading the book as many environmentalists are. what is your strategy to get the book in the hands of people you think need to read the book? >> this book is written for a heartland audience.
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it is written quite honestly for my mom who is a bone marrow republican and bless her heart she did actually read it. she called me to tell me i read it. there was a pause. and she said it was hard to read it. god bless her she is 86 and she read the book. i am not sure i would want to be standing by her when she pulled the lever in the ballot booth but she did read the book and i hope others will. as heather said this is not a partisan issue. protecting our environment is not a red issue or a. issue. it is the core american value and has been for decades. what is new? what has changed is to have people standing up taking vote after vote after vote for 200 times in the space of a little more than a year to undermine safeguards that were put in place over four decades by republicans and democrats working together, working in good faith and doing hard work
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of building on common ground and finding compromise and moving the country forward. we cannot sit by. we cannot stand by and watch that be taken apart. we just can't. we hope that this book will be read by a heartland audience and in town halls the questions will come up and people will write letters to the editors and make phone calls to congressman and senators and people will stand up and speak out and let their elected representatives know what we care about is americans in this country the way we care about our future and the health of our children. >> so many of the political debate in washington pretend the consequences of legislation are abstract. i know you don't believe that. you talk to a lot of people run the country writing this book. could you tell us one of the stories that inspired you that you discuss in the book? >> great question because americans have this vague sense
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that money and politics is having a corrosive influence. they're tired of the partisanship and paralysis and not getting things done in washington but rarely do we get a vivid window into how these forces affect the life of the nation away we have on the environmental front this past year. one of the things that was important in the book that we do in the second chapter was talk about how this affects real people. i told one story of a woman named paula who lives outside beckley, west virginia. of year ago, the epa took a look that proposed mountaintop removal project in west virginia. this project was going to destroy thousands of acres of mountains. some of the oldest mountains anywhere in the world. it was going to take the waste
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and rubble and toxic detritus of this destruction and dumped it into seven miles of allegheny mountain streams. some of the best water in the region and destroy those streams. buried alive forever. paula and others stood up and paul lott said my grandfather was a coal miner. my father with a coal miner. i buried both of them and here i am here to tell you they wouldn't stand for this. it wouldn't abide destruction of our mountains. they told the epa that in a public hearing and after consideration they used statutory authority to protect those streams and to block the mountain top removal. three weeks later, three weeks later the house of representatives voted to strip the epa of its authority to protect those streams and who supported it? a brand new freshman congressman from west virginia who has received more money from local industry than anybody else on
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capitol hill. connecting murdoch's is important for people to understand that. two years ago this month, 29 miners were killed in west virginia in a tragic mine accident. the worst in decades. we have yet to hear from the congress one single piece of legislation to make mining safer for the kind of workers who died in that mind. three weeks, three weeks it took the house to cut the legs out from under the epa trying to protect those streams and in two years they cannot act to protect our miners. that is worse than paralysis. that is a national disgrace and we were happy to write about that in the book. i am sorry that it happened but i hope every american understand the story and understand what it means and understand we need to demand better from the people who represent us on capitol hill. no american should count on that
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kind of a disgrace. thank you. >> how do you envision any kind of bipartisan consensus forming on or after november that will change a little bit or half of what you are espousing in your book. what hope do we have? >> our hope has to come from the people of this country. the people of the country have to speak up. the corporations that. for profits are very well organized and very well funded. they are going to have their voice heard. no question about it. and they have that right. the rest of us need to speak up as well and if we did that in the town hall meetings, in the newspapers, letters to the editor, conversations with senators and congress men and conversations around kitchen tables with each other if we begin to express that and get that word to our leaders on capitol hill it will change.
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we can find common ground but there are many republicans and we quote many of them who are very uncomfortable with this shift. we talked to christine todd whitman who was the epa administrator under george w. bush and she said i have been appalled. she can't understand why the republican party has turned its back on its own legacy of environmental stewardship through the decades. we talked to william reilly, george w. bush's administrator and he feels the same way. doesn't understand this. there are a lot of republicans who are uncomfortable with it and we need to communicate this to our elective leaders and let them know we are not going to be run roughshod over people carrying the smokestack agenda on capitol hill and let this party know it is going to have to return to its roots, its environmental history and its conservative roots. conservative tenets of thrift and energy independence. we quote t.s. eliot in the book. he is generally thought of as
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the most learned man of letters to be a conservative voice in the 20th century and he has a wonderful -- i am not going to kid you. he wrote it 80 years ago. the images in it are stock. t. s. eliot in one of the most famous lines in the wasteland he says i will show you fear in a handful of dust. the house has shown us fear not in a handful of dust but in a torrent of bad legislation and the worst legislative assault in history against the environmental safeguards we all depend on to protect our environment and health. we need to stand up and speak out and turn this around. [applause]
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>> you are watching booktv on c-span2, 48 hours of nonfiction authors and books every weekend. >> david maraniss, how old was she when she killed herself? >> with 26. >> why did she kill herself? >> she killed herself because of what we know is she left a suicide note that she was distraught with her husband's philandering. that was the immediate cause. >> the president's grandfather, stanley's mother. >> 26 and because of that dramatic event stanley and his older brother ralph moved back to eldodo. living with his grandparents and his great-grandfather, christopher columbus clark who fought in the civil war.
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>> where did stanley and madeleine's grandparents meet? >> in augusta which is 12 or 13 miles from eldorado. sort of on the way to wichita and that is where madeleine grew up and stan had been out of high school several years and that one was a senior in high school and was working in construction and renovation of an oil plant. >> what was their life like? >> their life before they move door after? after they married it was sort of her parents didn't really like him. as of matter-of-fact the first thing her father quote is i don't want you marrying that dark skinned sort of -- an element of race in that and she married him secretly. before she graduated high school she was a smart young woman who
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had always been on the honor roll until she met stanley who was like talking and promised to get out of arkansas and that is what she wanted. she had grown up loving betty davis. she was stuck in a small town and stan promised something else. he had been to california and promised to take her back there. their lives were somewhat unstable. not that their marriage was necessarily an stable but his jobs were always unstable and it was a rocky road. >> on the kenya side of the family where did the obama clan begin? >> the obama clan began in sedan several hundred years ago. i start the story in a small
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village by lake victoria to the southeast of the major city in what we call. it is a poor part of kenya where the tribe is centered. second or third largest tribe in africa. the large tribe is where the obamas -- >> on the president's paternal side who are his grandparents? >> his grandfather was hussain who was born in the late 1800s and was in a first wave to the westernized, to western kenya. his name was onyango.
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in other ways became inculcated into british culture and british colony so he worked later as a chef or cook for many british military people and folks in nairobi. the mother came from another village in that area and she did not -- hussain with the difficult guy to live with. he beat his wives. he had several lives which was part of their culture. he moved from the area near where she grew up and moved back to another homestead of the obama clan in lake victoria. she had enough. a new younger wife. she ran away. she left the family with barack
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obama, the president's father who was barack hussain obama. little boy. >> his grandparents in kenya died in 1979 and 2006. did president obama ever meet them? >> no. he never met his kenyan grandparents. he got there in the 1980s "reckless: the political assault on the american environment" is grandfather died. aside from the early days of his birth -- he didn't get back to kenya until both of his grandparents were gone and lived with his grandparents--a dramatic difference. >> how many interviews did you do over the course of the last four years? >> i would say almost 400 and i had a wonderful assistant, gabriel briggs who helped with later interviews and specific parts of the story. i traveled all around the world.
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i interviewed everybody i could find. every part of the life of president obama and his parents and grandparents. >> barack obama sr. was born in 1936. what was his childhood like? >> from a fairly early age he was dealing with western culture as the british. he was a very smart kid. his father was difficult to get along with. not often there. mostly in nairobi and he was lucky in the sense that he was smart enough to get into a -- the only good school in that area. and although he never totally finished he was a very smart student. .four